Why you should eat more local food
At the core of my beliefs and a major reason why I got involved with the Forest City Cookbook is the belief that buying more from local producers has strong benefits for you and the environment. So here is some food for thought (too easy, but had to be done - sorry) about why I think we should all buy more local food.
It brings back focus on seasonal food
Eating with the seasons should be a very modest task, but it has become increasingly hard. Indeed, when facing a stand packed with products from all over the globe, it is easy to forget what foods are grown when. Buying local foods is a good way to get a better understanding of what can be grown here and at what time. It’s also no coincidence that eating fresh foods while they’re in season is the best way to enjoy them at their tastiest, as they’ve required the least amount of artificial aids to grow. Eating seasonally is also an easy way of introducing some variety into your diet - Which is simply one of the best things you can do for your health.
It gives a chance to smaller producers
While having a globalized food distribution system can have some advantages, it does tend to encourage the concentration of farms in massive factory-like enterprises. Size becomes vital to reach the efficiency and standardization that’s required to survive in such an industrialized system. But food can’t really be treated in the same way as any classic industrial production line for a few reasons: because the creation of food relies heavily on external factors (things like: weather, regional specificities, and the environment as a whole), but also because it entails the breeding of animals and their wellbeing, which is almost impossibly compatible with the industrialization of the production process. Shopping for local foods support and give a chance to local producers that don’t have the size and means to take part in the globalized industrialised food system. In turn, that’s why these producers can rely on more natural methods that are less stressful for animals and crops.
It is better for the environment
We all know moving food around can represent a heavy burden for the environment. While it’s true that not every fruit and vegetable can be grown in our region and growing products that aren’t suited to the weather using heated greenhouses can actually have a higher carbon print than getting these specific products from abroad, there is still a lot of excellent products perfectly suited for our weather. To import foods easily grown locally from the other side of the world really makes no sense and requires a lot of unnecessary energy usage. The food that is abundant in our fields and flourishes when in season is the kind of local food we really want to promote.
It keeps farms in the area
I really think that small traditional farms are great assets for a community. First they are very beautiful places that preserve the landscape and the quality of the soils. The pesticide ridden intensive factory-like farms create a monoculture which destroys the diversity of soils and can pollute water resources. On the other hand, traditional farms rotate crops and champion native animal breeds. This helps preserves the soil and variety of our beautiful countryside.
It makes it easier to know all about your food
Food really is a beautiful thing. It’s reflects our environment and culture right back at us. It gives us energy and the opportunity to meet and share with the people we love. And it really makes us happy. That’s why I think it’s worth being interested in what you eat and it doesn’t need to be difficult when locally-grown food tastes so good. Do you ever wonder where your food comes from? How it was grown? Trust me, the process of getting to know more about what you eat is not only fun, it will help you eat healthier and be more conscious (even if you don’t realize it). Getting more local food during your weekly shopping trip is a simple way to acknowledge and value transparency and origin. Easy eh?
Written by: Brian Blatnicki
Photos by: alieskarobles.com
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